Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Last Creative Writing Assignment

By: Kyley Shinead Eagleson

I never thought of myself as a bad person.  I always tried to do what was right.  I tried to help people.  I thought I followed the rules.  My name is Lila DeMarcus; I used to be honest.  My name is Lila DeMarcus and I am a liar.  You can trust me on this; I’m a doctor. 
I’m a psychiatrist.  On Monday’s and Thursday’s, I see Sylvia at 8:15.  Sylvia is a young mother, just 19; her husband is in the military.  She brings the baby with her to every appointment.  Generally, we will talk about how her week is going.  She tells me that she misses her husband who is deployed, that the baby won’t eat and that she is worried he is ill.
“You’re a doctor,” she implores, “Could you just take a look at him and tell me if something is wrong?”
“Sylvia,” I say, “we’ve talked about this before, I’m not that kind of doctor.”
Although I’d rather keep the focus off of the baby, the pleading look in her eyes finally gets me to look over him.  After all, I don’t need an M.D. after my name to figure out why her cabbage patch doll isn’t eating.
- - -
Jonas comes in on Tuesday afternoon, every Tuesday, without fail.  A few years back, when Christmas fell on a Tuesday, we were both here. 
Jonas likes order and consistency.  He’s an obsessive-compulsive patient whose life and mental state would probably improve greatly if he would just accept his homosexuality.  Jonas is an attractive man; we often discuss his dates from the previous weekend and why things always go bad when he tries to take a woman home with him.
“I met her at the bar, she was a 10, blond hair, blue eyes, the whole thing.” He tells me with false bravado.  “She was all over me so I took her back to my place.”
“And then what happened?” I ask.
            “I think I’m broken,” He tells me dejectedly, “there’s just something wrong with it.  Why won’t my body do what my mind tells it to?”
- - -
I know I should not have a favorite patient, but I do.  Her name is Joyce and she is an older woman.  Widowed, her children are all grown and off, living lives of their own.  Joyce is lonely.  She comes in on different days but always at least once a week.  I think people need human interaction to stay sane.  That’s why I see Joyce; she just needs another person to talk to, to prove to herself that she is not totally alone.
            “So how has your week been Joyce?” I ask.  She ponders my question for a moment and I just let her take the time she needs.  That’s partly why I like these sessions so much; they allow me some time for personal reflection as well.
            They give me the time to think about whether or not I’m totally alone, to think about how my week has been.  It gives me the time to think about the call I got from Sylvia during dinner last night.  She was hysterical because her baby wasn’t breathing and she didn’t know what to do.  I could hear the panic in her voice; almost see her pacing back and forth across her living room, wringing her hands, desperate for answers.
            “I think,” said Joyce stirring me from my reverie, “that my time here is drawing to a close.”
            “What do you mean?” I ask, “We still have 50 minutes left of the session.”
            “No dear, not the session, just here, in general.”
I like that she calls me dear, it makes me feel safe somehow, like nothing can get to me, like nothing can break through the cracks.   Joyce closes her eyes and I suddenly understand her meaning.
            “Joyce,” I say, “Joyce wake up!”  But she does not stir.  I try and try to rouse her but she’s gone.  That’s when I start falling, and I keep on falling and falling and falling.
- - -
When I woke up I had no idea where I was.  I kept asking about Joyce but no one listened.  They tell me that my cleaning lady found me, semi-catatonic, in my townhouse, alone.  They keep stressing that, that I was alone.  Now I’m at the Clear Springs Mental Institution, I’ve been here for a week.
  The doctors here say I talk to myself.  They hear me throughout the day and just assume that’s what I’m doing.  They don’t know my patients though.  I try to tell them about conflicted Jonas and disturbed Sylvia but they won’t listen.  They don’t see them like I do.  Just like they could not see Joyce.  They don’t believe me.
            “Please,” I say, “Please listen, these people, they need help.”
            “Don’t mind her,” I overhear one doctor reassuring another as they walk past, “That’s just Lila DeMarcus; she’s a liar.”  

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